Helicopter on the ground – for now
The only helicopter in Samoa might not be flying anywhere in a hurry.
In fact, the helicopter that belongs to the recently set up Samoa Helicopters Company has not taken off for the past couple of weeks.
This has raised eyebrows among members of the local community who wonder what has happened.
Attempts to contact Principal and Founder, Rodger McCutcheon, during the past few days were not successful.
The Samoa Observer was told that he was not in the country.
The company’s small office at Mulinu’u is closed while the helicopter is still there on the ground.
The emergency hotline for the Samoa Helicopters was not answered.
But a local businesswoman close to the people who run the operation said the Company is looking for a new pilot.
“As far as I know, [Samoa Helicopters] has got a new pilot coming in from New Zealand,” she said.
“The other pilot that has been working for them has departed, so that’s basically what we know about it.”
The businesswoman did not want to speculate on reports that there was an issue with the helicopter.
“It is still working at the moment, but if I remember correctly, Rodger [McCutcheon] left only last Wednesday,” she said.
“But he did not mention when exactly he would return, so this might probably take another few weeks.”
Earlier this year, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, endorsed the operation.
“When it comes to private investments where lives will be saved then government must take decisive action,” said Tuilaepa. “It is utter nonsense and ridiculous for any government to discard a service of this nature.
“You have the government’s blessing and support. And I urge you to proceed with full speed.”
Since it was launched, the company has been using its Eurocopter to conduct sightseeing tours and a medical mission from Savaii.
“I am passionate about saving Samoan lives. The first of two helicopters for Samoa was carefully chosen for its safety, reliability, passenger comfort and its versatility,” Mr. McCutcheon said.
“Our safety record and quality of presentation and maintenance meets the very highest standards, and we bring this standard to Samoa in the hope of making a successful valuable contribution to Samoa’s transport and tourism infrastructure.”